Many of us don’t do well sitting alone with our thoughts, even for just a few minutes. And sadly, many of us would prefer negative experiences versus just being alone in our own heads.
This is what social psychology researchers at the university of Virginia discovered during an experiment focused on understanding how individuals cope with their own thoughts once all the outlets for distractions are eliminated.
In this experiment, 50 people were given the option of sitting quietly in a room alone for fifteen minutes or giving themselves an electric shock. Almost 70% of the men, and 25% of the women, chose shocks over quality alone time. These people weren’t crazy by the way, nor did they enjoy pain. They were all people who told the researchers beforehand that they would be willing to pay to avoid the shocks.
So we have dozens of people who would rather press a button that inflicts pain versus sit still and be alone with their thoughts. This is where the title of this blog comes from.
This type of behaviour is more prevalent than ever these days and I see it first hand in not only my clients but also in myself from time to time. This is why mediation can be like pulling teeth to some. We avoid this like the plague but deep down most of us know that if we want to declutter our minds and find inner peace, then the only way out is in. No that wasn’t a typo. The most affective way to get out of your mind, is by going inside of it.